Health news: Brazilians rush to get yellow fever vaccinations amid fatal cases

Brazilians rush to get yellow fever vaccinations amid fatal cases

Brazilians lined up for hours to get yellow fever vaccinations, alarmed by the increase in the number of fatal cases of infection and a warning from the World Health Organisation (WHO) to tourists visiting parts of the country.

In Belo Horizonte, a city in the south-eastern state of Minas Gerais, people had to wait up to seven hours for a shot because health centres were not prepared for the surge in demand, a state spokesman said.

People were being turned away at some health centres in Minas Gerais and in the southeastern state Sao Paulo because vaccines and syringes had run out, Brazilian media reported.

The WHO said last week that Sao Paulo state, which includes South America's largest city, Sao Paulo, should be considered at risk for yellow fever and recommended foreign travellers get vaccinated before visiting.

But Brazil's Health Ministry said the recommendation, coming weeks before Carnival, an event for which thousands of tourists descend on Brazil, would not cause it to change its advisory that only travellers going to rural areas be vaccinated.

All known cases of infection were in rural areas. - REUTERS

Toothpaste ingredient triclosan could help fight malaria

Research carried out in part by a "robot scientist" with artificial intelligence (AI) has found that a common ingredient of toothpaste could be developed to fight strains of malaria.

In a study in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists from Britain's Cambridge University said the ingredient, triclosan, showed the potential to interrupt infections at two critical stages - in the liver and blood.

After being transferred into a host via a mosquito bite, malaria parasites work their way into the liver. They then move into red blood cells, multiply and spread, causing potentially life-threatening complications.

Scientists have known that triclosan can halt malaria parasites' growth at the blood stage by inhibiting the action of an enzyme known as enoyl reductase. In toothpaste, this helps prevent build-up of plaque bacteria.

In this latest work, scientists found that triclosan also inhibits a different enzyme of the parasite, called dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR).

This enzyme is the target of the antimalarial pyrimethamine - a drug to which the parasites are increasingly developing resistance. The Cambridge team's work showed that triclosan was able to target and act on DHFR even in drug-resistant parasites. - REUTERS

Worry over climate change linked to depression: Study

Depression and anxiety afflict Americans concerned with the fate of the environment, showed a study of the mental health effects of climate change.

Most hard-hit are women and people with low incomes who worry about the planet's long-term health, said the study published this week in the journal Global Environmental Change.

Symptoms include restless nights, loneliness and lethargy.

"Climate change is a persistent global stressor," said Sabrina Helm, lead author of the paper and professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona.

The study involved 342 online surveys of respondents whose views broadly reflect the wider US population, researchers said. - REUTERS